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Volcanoes open ARC stint with victory over Malaysia

By Dugout Philippines

KUALA LUMPUR--The Philippine Volcanoes kicked off their Division 1 Asia Rugby Championships campaign on Saturday in a close encounter over host nation Malaysia which resulted in a 15-10 victory.

In wet conditions at the Royal Selangor Stadium, the Volcanoes found themselves in an uphill battle with a wet ball and a hostile crowd chasing the scoreboard after an early penalty conversion to Malaysia found them down, 0-3.

Team captain Oliver Saunders had an off start with the boot, but a strong set piece from the Philippine line out saw debutant Derrick Broussard cross the line for a five-pointer before halftime.

Malaysia fought back with a strong counter attack scoring immediately in the second half to give the hosts a 10-5 advantage.

A try-saving interception by Harrison Blake set up Matthew Saunders catching the Malaysian team off guard with a quick tap off a penalty to even the score lines, 10-all.

With the scores at a deadlock, it was the Philippines who had the final say after the strong forward pack once again showed their dominance in the set piece scoring off a pushover scrum. Man of the match Terry Carroll scored the final try for the Philippines to secure the win.

"It was a tough opening game for us against the home team Malaysia. The wet conditions made it hard to play an expansive game as there were a lot of handling errors. I thought we were strong at set piece. We have a couple of areas in our game to adjust and we will work on that for our next game against Singapore" said Saunders.

The Philippines will take on an improved Singaporean team on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in their second game. The Singaporeans fell short to Sri Lanka in their opening match, 33-17.

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